Posted by on Oct 27, 2015 at 2:56pm
If we had a pound for every time a new client asks us ‘what makes news?’ we’d all be sporting the latest designer clobber and, let’s face it, be sunning ourselves on a sandy beach somewhere tropical. You get the idea: it’s a common question. We get asked it a lot. And there’s a simple answer. For something to be ‘newsworthy’ it needs to incorporate one of five basic news angles. These are: the celebrity factor; the ‘it’s new and never been done before’ factor, the bad news factor, the human interest factor, the research factor and, finally, the topical factor.
You may be wondering how a PR consultancy tasked with promoting a brand to its key audiences could shoehorn a bad news angle into a press release and ensure the resulting coverage remains positive. It’s simple really and probably warrants a blog post all of its own. We’ll get around to that next week.
Back to the art of the topical hook then. So, what’s been on the TV, in all the papers and filling every social media feed under the sun for the last few days? That’s right, as the title of this blog post might suggest, Back to the Future. Specifically a date this week that was referenced in the iconic 80’s movie as the date Marty Mcfly and Doc Emmett Brown travelled back to the future. Que: multiple brands leveraging the occasion – and corresponding hash tags – to promote their own agenda. From Nike sending Michael J Fox a pair of self-fastening trainers (and promising to donate the proceeds to Parkinson’s related charities when they go on sale next year) to a local police force in Scotland asking its Facebook followers to share information on a reported vehicle incident involving two suspicious men, a Delorium and a bit of a commotion. Genius.
Gimmicks aside, the topical hook has the potential to elevate a story from ‘bottom of the pile/never getting published’ to ‘stop the press and hold the front page’. By giving your story a topical hook and wider context, you make your announcement timely and relevant. It becomes intertwined in a broader narrative that captures the interest of target audiences and subtly conveys your key messages.